Friday , May 29 2020
Home / Jeff Mosenkis (IPA)
Jeff Mosenkis (IPA)

Jeff Mosenkis (IPA)

Jeff Mosenkis explains what IPA does and what our findings mean to policymakers and the general public; for example, translating "multiple inference testing adjusted q-values" into other languages, like English. Before joining IPA, he worked for Freakonomics Radio which is heard by millions on public radio and online around the world. Jeff holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and a PhD in Psychology and Comparative Human Development, both from the University of Chicago.

Articles by Jeff Mosenkis (IPA)

IPA’s weekly links

7 days ago

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action

Coronavirus patient, comedian Noam Shuster, found herself at the center of an accidental social experiment profiled on the Rough Translation podcast
My colleague Kate Glynn-Broderick writes today with an example of how her existing project in Bangladesh, exploring gender gaps in access to mobile money and banking is quickly pivoting to COVID-19, as Bangladesh’s government plans to use those same platforms to distribute social protection, threatening to leave the most marginalized people out of the government response.
South Africa’s National Research Foundation COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund offers funding to researchers and also journalists and policy communicators from 15 sub-Saharan African countries working on COVID-19.

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

28 days ago

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action

Last week I mentioned the new COVID research RECOVR hub, which was still in development. This week it’s been launched officially, to help development researchers share information about ongoing studies, survey instruments, and funding opportunities. If you are doing related work, please share or have a look at what other researchers are doing so we can build on one another’s work.
A great initiative from the Busara Center, “Give More Tomorrow,”  lets better-off Kenyans pledge to give the money from their new tax breaks to the poor during this crisis, but it’s not limited to Kenyans. Anybody can use the Busara pledge on their site for their tax refund or stimulus check as well and donate to Kenyans in crisis via GiveDirectly.

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

April 24, 2020

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action

First some good news – congratulations to development economist and dewormer Ted Miguel, social psychologist of diversity and justice Jennifer Richeson, gynecologist and Nobel laureate, Denis Mukwege of the DRC, and the other newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
For researchers working on (or interested in working on COVID in low- and middle-income countries): to facilitate collaboration, with support from the Gates Foundation, IPA, with J-PAL, CEGA, the ICG, CGD, Northwestern’s Global Poverty Research Lab & Yale’s Y-RISE, are going to launch a COVID research hub next week listing ongoing research studies (with data & results when ready), funding opportunities, and survey research instruments. If

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

April 6, 2020

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
Remember to fill out your U.S. Census form if you got a mailing! Of course accurate counts are important for apportioning leadership and federal resources, but more importantly (as someone else pointed out) so that researchers 80 years from now looking at historical trends won’t pull out their hair in frustration of the lost 2020 census data the same way ones today do about the 1890 census data fire.
The Dev Impact blog had a pair of postings for research in the time of COVID-19. First, how your interventions and methods will have to change in the times of COVID-19, and dilemmas for researchers when your study is interrupted and what to do about them, which goes into specific past examples of how researchers adjusted when

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

March 23, 2020

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.
It’s a little tricky to write links when it feels like things are changing hourly. Here’s the main message to keep in mind for the research community – you can do more than idle your projects. COVID-19 will affect every aspect of development, health, education, entrepreneurship, mobile money, cash transfers, political systems and trust in authority. But, if you have a research expertise in some area of development, now’s the time to use it, not in three years to get a good retrospective paper. The advantage we have is that (as far as we know), it hasn’t hit the Southern Hemisphere badly yet, and we still have a shot at slowing or containing it there. The bad news is that, as far as I can tell, research orgs aren’t

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

March 6, 2020

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
Thanks for being patient while the links were on hiatus, we’re back!
COVID-19 is obviously on everybody’s mind. For the dev crowd, let’s remember that right now travel from US/Europe to the Southern hemisphere might spread the disease to vulnerable places with much weaker health systems.I apologize for not having it handy, but there was a good thread about how the mental model of the poor countries being the source of diseases may have contributed to U.N. troops bringing cholera to Haiti and discharging their waste into drinking water.The Global Dispatches (formerly UN Dispatch I think) podcast is always very informative. Host Mark Leon Goldberg spoke with Johns Hopkins professor Paul Spiegel who is currently modeling how an

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

December 20, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.
A few years ago, Liberia, whose educational system has been troubled to say the least, tried an experiment. In the face of under-resourced and underperforming public schools, they wondered if private education providers could run public schools better than the government was? The country announced that it was going to outsource the whole country’s schools to one American company, but after public outcry the plan was scaled back to pilot and included a randomized evaluation with three private and five non-profit school operators running different test schools.Now the three-year evaluation results, from Mauricio Romero and Justin Sandefur (conducted with my IPA colleagues in Liberia), are out: short summary, 3ish page brief &

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

December 13, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.
There’s a new evaluation out of the Northern Ghana site of the famous expensive Millennium Villages project most associated with Jeff Sachs. I’m not an expert, but as I understand it, the theory is that an intensive big fix (building new institutions like hospitals and many other things at once) could fix the interdependent problems of poor areas.The thing is that Sachs insisted he knew it would work, and it didn’t need an independent evaluation, in fact threatening people who criticized the project’s inadequate evaluation, and yelling at a reporter (disclosure: she’s now my colleague) who asked for the full budget numbers. My understanding is that in addition to the outside funding Sachs brought, it required local government

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

November 27, 2019

Photo: Larry George II on UnsplashGuest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
For your travels this weekend I’ve put up some favorite podcast recommendations, plus some bonus reading, and kids’ podcasts. (Though they’re all potentially kids’ podcasts, in that when my kids misbehave in the back seat I threaten to put on an econ podcast and they shape up pretty quick.)The Nathan Nunn article on rethinking economic development was very readable. He argues that instead of investing in development, rich countries could just stop doing things that harm poor countries, like punitive trade and immigration policies, poorly thought out development projects that cause unintended consequences like exacerbating conflict, and academic research that’s blind to the country context. The

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

November 8, 2019

A slope even non-economists can loveGuest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
First, please pass along to your skiing friends that the owner of the ski treehouse above in Whitefish, MT (Glacier National Park adjacent) is offering to donate proceeds to the non-profit I work for, IPA, from any rentals between now and Jan 31. (Instructions here)Among other things, IPA’s been investing in expanding the things that academics don’t always have incentives to do, hiring Ph.D.s and sector experts to do the replications and tinkering (AER probably won’t publish the 4th attempt to test a phenomenon, but to get it right, somebody has find out how it works across borders), build infrastructure for open-science and data transparency, and run longer term coordinated cross-country

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

November 1, 2019

It’s complicated, trust me, see below.Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
Two Blattman-related things, for researchers and aspiring researchers:IPA’s Peace and Recovery program is accepting research proposals, on topics such as war, peace, electoral violence, state-sponsored violence, terrorism, forced displacement, natural disasters, and recovery from all the above.They fund: “full randomized trials, pilot studies, exploratory and descriptive work, travel grants, and (in rare but deserving cases) non-experimental evaluations.” Applications from early career researchers (including Ph.D. and post-docs) are welcome, and there are small exploratory funds (under $10k) earmarked for them.Deadline December 6th, more here, and you can see previously funded work here.For

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

October 25, 2019

They spend the next 45 minutes arguing about Stata vs. R. (In honor of the new Jack Ryan season) Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.
Dave Evans offers a short PhD in Michael Kremer’s work, with quick summaries of 100+ of his papers. But being a Nobel-winning researcher is only one of his jobs. He’s founded, or been instrumental in, more than one non-profit, and in USAID DIV. As a friend told me this morning, most people who know him from just one facet of his life often never know about his many other accomplishments.GiveWell is hiring people for their impact research work at the Ph.D. and other levels. Impressively, they do sponsor work visas, so please let people outside the mainstream U.S. world know. Reach out to them at jobs at givewell.org with

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

October 18, 2019

One of the best Indian dairy cooperative-based Nobel pun cartoons you’ll see all day. Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
That is Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo above, thanks to Neela Saldanha and Elizabeth Koshy for explaining that Abi Jit means “(He) just won” or “won now,” so it means “just won the Nobel.” And that the dairy cooperative Amul is known in India for their punny billboards (which you can also find on their twitter feed).On the Nobel sugar high, as a friend called it, a couple of nice interviews:Michael also credits all the people who work on these studies, and there have been some nice tributes to and from them for example here, and here, and the very nice parties with video connections from all the organizations devoted to doing this work in

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

October 11, 2019

Ethiopian Prime Minister and Nobel Laureate Abiy Ahmed Ali
Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work towards peace with Eritrea, though the committee acknowledged it’s still a work in progress. Ethiopia has also loosened some of its more repressive policies around security and journalism recently. Commentary from BBC starting around 6 minutes here (both stories h/t Laura Seay).For longer background on how Ali came from being a relatively minor figure to a reformer, listen to this UN Dispatch podcast from a few months ago (Apple/iTunes). I learned that Ethiopia still has the largest number of internally displaced people in the world because of internal conflicts – an astounding 3 million

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

October 4, 2019

One of the original Kodak “Shirley” cardsGuest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
Have fun to everybody at the NEUDC conference this weekend! Fun fact: the Northeast Universities Development Consortium conference is being held at Northwestern, which is neither in the Northeast, nor the Northwest. The conference has never been held at Northeastern University. So for everybody complaining about confusing econ speak, this is what they do to themselves.An interesting idea from Michael Lokshin and Martin Ravallion, addressing U.S. (or other wealthy country) labor market needs, immigration, and global poverty at the same time: People in the rich country rent out their right to work to someone who wants to come to the country to work. They outline the basics on VoxEU, Martin

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

September 27, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
First, a word from Chris (click the linked screenshot below for the whole interesting story):
Here’s that link to his CV (including a graduate degree from Columbia). But you can hear him and Chris on Freakonomics talk about the program he developed in Liberia.
The American Economic Association released its full report on the professional climate survey it ran and it’s not good. Ben Casselman from The New York Times, who has done a lot of reporting on this, excerpts some of the more stunning [email protected] points out the number of things black and Latina women report having had to do to avoid harassment or discrimination (such as giving up a job or other opportunity) is remarkably high – 4.4 compared to 1.5 for the

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

September 20, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
The animation above comes from a cool page of causal inference animations by Nick Huntington-Klein (h/t Alex Tabarrok), which go through, step-by-step with scatterplots, how different methods work. Alex was one of many who offered helpful tips for getting through undergrad econometrics. Call for papers for the Y-Rise conference Dec 15-21 on the science of scaling promising interventions. They have research networks looking at broad questions (Political Economy; Evidence Aggregation/External Validity; Macro, Growth, & Welfare Effects of Policy Interventions; and Spillovers, Network & Equilibrium Effects), as well as working groups on three promising intervention areas (seasonal poverty, informational failures, and improving

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

September 13, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
A very cool job market paper and explanatory thread, from Ph.D. candidate Matthew Klein. He, Bradford L. Barham, and Yuexuan Wu, link women’s household bargaining power to malaria rates in Malawi. They find that a one standard deviation increase in a woman’s household bargaining power implies a 40% reduction in chances that anybody in the household contracts malaria. They caution their ability to infer why this works is limited in their data set, but it offers an intriguing route to test to decrease malaria rates, something the WHO just called for.The review paper “How effective is nudging? A quantitative review on the effect sizes and limits of empirical nudging studies”, the source of the figure above, reminds us that nudge

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

September 6, 2019

(Photo via Flickr) Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
I realized after I posted it last week that it was my 200th links, which is a nice occasion to acknowledge and thank my colleague Cara Vu, who, despite being one of the busiest people I know, edits them and saves me from self-humiliation on a weekly basis. She catches between 8 and 200 mistakes in every one.And also thanks for reading. I really do appreciate the occasional emails, twitter shout outs, and in-person hellos from people I’d never meet otherwise. I don’t know if it’s still possible to comment (we had to make the comments harder b/c of spammers), but feel free to tweet or email me. And of course, thanks to Chris for lending me the blog while he works on his book. And if you appreciate the time

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

August 30, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
Thanks for being patient with the intermittent links schedule over the summer, I expect to have some catch-up ones included over the next weeks.
Congrats to Mauricio Romero, Justin Sandefur, and Wayne Sandholtz, on their forthcoming article in American Economic Review, (ungated) on the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) program, a public-private partnership testing how a variety of private school operators compared to government operations of public schools. It was a very difficult study to pull off very quickly, and involved incredible work- as Jishnu Das said “Finding children who have left a school is like finding a needle in a haystack. In a country where only 42 percent have access to a cell phone, it’s heroism.” Big

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

August 9, 2019

Guest post by by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
Chris has been threatening it for a while but looks like he’s finally done it (click through to see the full thread and description of why his answer’s not what you might expect):
Set your 2-year clock for my book: Why We Fight. Everything you need to know about why gangs, nations, and other groups go to war, and how to stop it. Just signed with editor Wendy Wolf @VikingBooks, an imprint @PenguinUSA! Huge credit to agent @WordNerdMargo of @BrockmanInc.— Chris Blattman (@cblatts) August 7, 2019If you can’t wait till then, much of his materials are in his class slides and syllabi on this very site.And a really good related thread on criminal governance – when gangs replace functions of government – from Brazil. In this case

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

August 2, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.
The 26 artifacts, which include statutes and thrones looted by French troops during a military raid against the once powerful West African Kingdom of Dahomey in 1892, are among some of the 5,000 artifacts requested from France by Benin.
And that’s just Benin, there are an estimated 90,000 looted African artifacts in France.
A holy grail in economic development, and really all of business investment, is figuring out which small businesses will grow when given the opportunity. A few years ago David McKenzie evaluated a very successful program in Nigeria involving an intense business plan competition with $50,000 for the winners. The program’s being copied by other countries, but David and Dario Sansone went back to use all the

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

July 26, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
J-PAL North America has released a pretty spiffy-looking toolkit for doing evaluations in North America, covering conceptual things like assessing feasibility as well as technical things like power calculations, with links to code and more resources (most of the info isn’t specific to North America).It’s been a big few weeks for open science:It is the policy of the American Economic Association to publish papers only if the data and code used in the analysis are clearly and precisely documented, and access to the data and code is clearly and precisely documented and is non-exclusive to the authors.Authors of accepted papers that contain empirical work, simulations, or experimental work must provide, prior to acceptance,

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

July 19, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
India’s government is hiring behavioral scientists for a new nudge unit (h/t Neela Saldanha)Cancer researcher Peter Bach points out how Novartis used anchoring to set price expectations high for a new immunotherapy, making a 2 million dollar drug price (much higher than other life-saving treatments) sound reasonable years in advance by consistently referring to the new treatments in development as “million dollar therapies.” In questionable research practices:Duke University researchers apparently violated their IRB requirements by compiling a video database of thousands of students on their way to class to use in facial recognition development. The data was made available widely and has been used by companies in China, where

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

June 7, 2019

WHO measles surveillance dataGuest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
Thanks for being patient while the links were sleeping, expect some summer disruptions of schedule as wellMeasles cases are up 300% over last year with outbreaks in the U.S., Europe, The Philippines, Myanmar, and several African countries. I heard a PSA that adults vaccinated before a certain period (when the vaccine process changed) might no longer be immune. So I got checked and sure enough I wasn’t, and had to get a new vaccination. My doctor said about half the people she tests have lost their immunity (though it’s obviously not a random sample). So if you’re planning summer travel, or even not, you might want to talk to your doc about getting checked (it’s a simple blood test). An impressive

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

May 10, 2019

Pick up your own 5-HTTLPR gene research summary shirt on etsy.Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
IPA’s looking for a Director of Poverty Measurement. In particular the job involves overseeing the Poverty Probability Index, a short, country-specific tool practitioners use to estimate poverty rates, and developing new non-monetary measures (requires strong quant background). Please share with anybody who might be interested.How the government of Odisha, one of India’s poorest states, moved a million people out of the path of a cyclone.Can a whole field of researchers be wrong? On Slate Star Codex Scott Alexander describes how an initial paper on how the gene 5-HTTLPR might relate to depression spawned decades of research and hundreds of papers into the gene’s

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

May 3, 2019

(Didn’t think I’d get a chance to use this again)
Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
Congratulations to Emi Nakamura, winner of the Clark medal. Noah Smith explains her work and why it’s rare for macroeconomists to win it.And congratulations to World Bank Chief Economist & Yale professor Penny Goldberg on her election to the National Academy of Sciences.A few years ago, the “Worm Wars” broke out when a team reanalyzed data from a classic finding on the benefits of treating kids’ intestinal parasites and failed to reach the same conclusion. Owen Ozier reflects back on what it means for replication in a new paper and explanatory tweetstorm.Great article on the history of the U.S. Census, and how the need to count the growing U.S. population faster spurred

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

April 12, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
A wonderful back and forth between David Evans and DFID Deputy Chief Economist Nick Lea, ostensibly about regressions, but to me resonated more broadly on methods. Papers seem to have to need the magical pixie dust of a regression to get accepted for publication, but is it the case that every problem in development is a nail waiting for a regression hammer? Lea wonders if methods are constraining the kinds of questions economists ask. See his thoughtful response to David’s post here.I’m continually stunned by how prevalent intimate partner violence is in places where development economists work, and how under-studied it is in development. For example, the WHO estimates over 50% of women sampled in Uganda have experienced that

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

April 5, 2019

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.
Good links from David McKenzie this week (as always), including this one from CSWEP on mentoring underrepresented minority women in economics.As much as it pains me to link to both David *and* my other Friday links competitor, Tim Ogden of NYU’s faiV, (which focuses on financial inclusion) he’s got a really good piece on CGAP’s blog. It’s ostensibly on what can we expect to learn from financial inclusion research, but really about systematic reviews and meta-analyses in general, and how we’re limited by the scope of very specific studies, and lack of standardized reporting. Studies are often limited in scope to begin with (for instance, analyzing effects of a financial product on individual users, but not spillovers on the

Read More »

IPA’s weekly links

March 29, 2019

Couldn’t make it to Oxford to the CSAE conference? Better call Dave.Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action
First, he’s back! David Evans, ensconced in his new digs at the Center for Global Development, brings us a roundup of over 275 papers from the Center for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) conference, in a fancy new expandable format indexed by topic. (Honestly it’s probably better than going to the conference to have someone review all those papers and give you the Cliffs Notes).A fantastic photo essay about Kenyan photographer Brian Otieno, from the poor neighborhood Kibera, who takes photos that contrast the typical ones we’re used to. His are about the everyday joy and fun in lives of residents there. You can follow Otieno’s Kibera Stories project on his

Read More »